Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Probiotic Power: Fermented Foods

As you look to kick 2012 off on the right foot, you may be thinking about improving your eating habits.  But have you thought even deeper than that?  If your gut is not in the right condition to properly digest all of the wholesome foods that you are eating, you most likely will not see the maximum benefit!  Probiotics and fermented foods are critical to the health of your gut.  They provide all of the beneficial bacteria that your gut needs to thrive.  This is especially important when you are battling illness or if you or someone in your family has allergies, asthma, or other ailments/conditions.  Almost any health condition that you may encounter can benefit from promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut through probiotics.

For a more detailed primer on fermented foods, check out Food Ranger's recent post here.
My family consumes probiotics in a variety of forms.  You may initially think of probiotics as powdered capsules that you ingest as part of a supplement regimen.  This is only one way to consume probiotics.  Fermented foods add yet another layer of "probiotic power" to your families' diet. 

For a a great primer on fermented foods, check out Food Ranger's recent post here.
As we have implemented whole food forms of probiotics (i.e. fermented foods) into our daily regimen, we have seen significant benefits including stronger immune systems (and the ability to fend off colds and flus without the use of medication) and dramatic improvements to our overall digestive health (especially for my little guy)! 

In the long term, fermented foods and probiotics can be a significant component in healing your gut, which in some cases can eliminate food sensitivities and even help children and adults overcome food allergies!

Here are a few of the fermented foods/beverages that I have implemented into my family's diet:

Tula's CocoKefir:  This is a favorite in our family!  This incredibly tasty beverage packs a major probiotic punch - my two year old started with one teaspoon of this beverage each day and has worked his way up to about 1/4 cup (a little bit with each meal).  This is a wonderful compliment to powdered probiotic supplements because it will introduce all sorts of new, good bacteria into your gut.  You can read about the incredible story behind this product here.  (The founders, Holly and Michael, are mom and dad to Tula.  They used coconut kefir as part of a dietary regimen that significantly contributed to Tula's recovery from autism.  It is worth a read!!!)  They distribute across the country, but you can find it locally at Lunds/Byerly's, Kowalskis, and most co-ops. 

Sauerkraut:  I recently had the opportunity to make the jar of homemade sauerkraut you see to the left- it was my first try and I am really happy with the results.  You can find a huge selection of recipes online.  I recently ran across this one and will be trying it next time!  For my first try, I used a veggie starter culture which felt a little "safer" to me than using only salt, but I think the results with salt would be better!  Consume 1-3 teaspoons of this with meals for improved digestion and more probiotic power.

Bubbies Pickles:  This is an even easier way to implement fermented foods into your diet!  You can find Bubbies pickles and sauerkraut at local co-ops or Whole Foods. These pickles are on the pricey side (a little under $6.00 for this large 33 oz jar) but worth every penny!  My little guy and I eat at least half of one of these pickles each at one mealtime each day (I will usually either have a half of a pickle or 2 teaspoons of sauerkraut).  These pickles are made without vinegar and are hands down the best pickles I have ever eaten! 

Water Kefir:  See more about my experience making water kefir here.  I make batches of water kefir on and off during the year.  When I am not using the cultures, I keep them in sugar water in the fridge.  You can even make water kefir soda once you have fermented the beverage, it is delicious!  We usually flavor our water kefir with frozen fruit (once fermented, add some frozen fruit and place in the fridge overnight.  Strain the next day and you will have a yummy fruit-flavored beverage).

Re-posted at:
day2day joys
Allergy-Free Vintage Cookery


  1. "Probiotics and fermented foods are critical to the health of your gut. They provide all of the beneficial bacteria that your gut needs to thrive."

    Oh that's why my cousin is motivating me in consuming fermented foods in order be healthy, now i get it why.

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